Ecosystem

A community of different species interacting with one another and with their nonliving environment of matter and energy.

What sustains this life?
Sun-(one-way flow of high-quality, usable energy from the sun starting the food chain, powering the cycles.) Biogeochemical Cycles-(cycling of types of matter or nutrients, water, carbon-oxygen, nitrogen, minerals.) Gravity-(allows for the plants atmosphere (biosphere)and movement of nutrients through the cycles)

Components of an Ecosystem
Biotic-living (plants, animals, other living things) Abiotic-nonliving (water, air, nutrients, solar energy, temperature, precipitation, wind, latitude, altitude, salinity, level of oxygen)

Biotic parts of an Ecosystem
Producers: Autotrophs, self-feeders, make their food from compounds obtained from their environment through photosynthesis or chemosynthesis. Land-Plants Water-Phytoplankton. Consumers: Heterotrophs, other-feeders, get their organic nutrients by feeding on the tissue of producers or other consumers.

Primary Consumers or Herbivores- Feed
directly on producers.

Consumers

Detritivores
Live off of detritus (parts of dead organisms and wastes of living organisms) Decomposers: recycle organic matter by breaking down detritus to get nutrients. They release the resulting simpler organic compounds into the soil where they are taken up by producers. (bacteria, fungi) Detritus Feeders: extract nutrients from partly decomposed organic matter. (earthworms, termites)

Secondary Consumers or CarnivoresFeed on Primary Consumers. Tertiary Consumer- Feed only on other Carnivores. Omnivores: Feed on Plants and Animals. Scavengers: Feed on Dead Organisms.

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Pyramid of Biomass.a graphic Flowdisplay that shows the cumulative loss of usable energy in a food chain. chemical energy) of organisms at each trophic level. more dispersed.Energy Flow in Ecosystems Food Chain.a feeding level in a Level food chain based upon producer/consumer and what it eats/decomposes. Second Law of Energy or Thermodynamics In any conversion of heat energy to useful work. Trophic Level. some of the initial energy input is always degraded to a lower quality. Ecological Pyramids Pyramid of Numbers.a graphic display of the Numbers estimation of organisms at each trophic level. less useful energy. Some animals feed at several trophic levels. (80-95%) Pyramids of Energy/Biomass always have a pyramidal shape because of the automatic degradation of energy quality required by the Second Law of Thermodynamics.a graphic display of the Biomass estimation of the biomass (organic matter.determines how energy Chainmoves from one organism to another. Food Chain Trophic Levels First Trophic LevelProducers: Energy from the Sun Second Trophic LevelPrimary Consumers Third Trophic LevelSecondary Consumers Fourth Trophic LevelTertiary Consumers Keep in Mind Detritivores processes detritus from all trophic levels. 305 KJ/Year 571 KJ/Year 913 KJ/Year 37 KJ/Year 2 . thus the organism in most ecosystems form a FOOD WEB Ecological Pyramids Pyramid of Energy Flow.

Changes in Abiotic Factors Acclimation: The ability of an organism to adjust their tolerance range to a gradual change in physical or chemical conditions. The factor that prevents the growth of a population. Energy Flow and the Impact on Ecosystems The Earth could support more people if they eat at lower trophic levels by consuming grains directly. Limiting Factors: Space: Established territories for breeding/living Food: Abundance or scarcity Climate and Weather: Adaptations Cover: Safety from predators Disease: Rate of spreading Shade: Sun’s Energy or Harm Invasive Species: competition for resources Human Activity: 3 . grow. The more steps in a food chain or web. biomass is transferred from one trophic level to another. and function normally. – Highly tolerant species can live in a variety of habitats with widely different conditions. the greater the cumulative loss of usable energy. It also explains why top carnivores such as eagles. Limiting Factor : (too much or too little). Example: Rice Humans Instead of eating meat eaters: Rice Steer Humans Energy Flow and the Impact on Ecosystems The large loss in energy between successive trophic levels also explains why food chains and webs rarely have more than four or five trophic levels. Threshold Effect/Tolerance Limit: the point at which an organism can’t acclimate. tigers and sharks are few in numbers and are usually the first to suffer when the ecosystems that support them are disrupted. with some usable energy degraded and lost to the environment as low-quality heat. develop. – Most organisms are least tolerant during their juvenile or reproductive stages of their life cycles.Second Law of Energy or Thermodynamics in ecosystems In a food chain or web. Changes in Abiotic Factors Range of Tolerance or Optimum Range: range of chemical and physical conditions that must be maintained for populations of a particular species to stay alive.

–The flow of matter between the environment and organisms is essential to the survival of an ecosystem. Gravity and the Sun’s Energy allow this to happen. –Some is gained or lost from or to outer space but not usually. O2 breaks down the organic compounds and CO2 is released. –Wind or water can move matter from one ecosystem to another. –It is never created or destroyed just changed from one form to another. oils. The Carbon-Oxygen Cycle Consumers and most cells use O2 in the process of respiration. The Biogeochemical Cycles The Carbon-Oxygen Cycle The Nitrogen Cycle The Mineral Cycle The Hydrologic (water) Cycle The Hydrologic/Water Cycle Evaporation Transpiration Osmosis Condensation Precipitation Runoff Infiltration Groundwater/Aquifer Seepage The Carbon-Oxygen Cycle Producers use CO2 from the atmosphere in the process of photosynthesis.The Biogeochemical or Matter Cycles of Ecosystems Matter: Anything that has mass and takes up space. starches) Plants give off O2 as a waste product. Light energy + CO2 + H2O = Organic Compounds (sugars. 4 . –Matter is recycled through an ecosystem. proteins.

During decomposition decomposers use oxygen to break down carbon compounds in dead matter and CO2 is returned to the atmosphere. The Carbon-Oxygen Cycle Therefore CO2 is released into the atmosphere by Respiration.The Carbon-Oxygen Cycle During combustion compounds containing carbon combine with oxygen from the atmosphere and CO2 is released. The Nitrogen Cycle Animals get the nitrogen they need by eating the plants or eating other planteating animals. 5 . Other Bacteria (decomposers) break down the nitrogen compounds (proteins) in dead matter and animal wastes and recycle it back into the soil and atmosphere. The air is 78% Nitrogen (N2) but plants and animals can’t use nitrogen (N2) in this form. Combustion and Decomposition and is taken out by Photosynthesis. And O2 is released into the atmosphere by Photosynthesis and taken out by Respiration. The Nitrogen Cycle Another Symbiotic Relationship: The plants provide food and water for the bacteria and the bacteria convert nitrogen gas (N2) to fertilizer for the plant. The Nitrogen Cycle Plants and animals need nitrogen to make proteins. The Nitrogen Cycle Lightening causes nitrogen and oxygen to combine in the atmosphere. Decomposition and Combustion. This compound is then dissolved in the rain and is carried to the soil where bacteria convert it into fertilizer. Bacteria known as nitrogen “fixers” can change Nitrogen Gas (N2) into Nitrogen fertilizers (NO3-) or ammonium ions (NH4+) that plants can use.

Dams) Ecological Succession We are going to look at the following three examples Ponds Kettle Lakes Forests 6 . phosphorus) are stored in rocks. The mineral cycle never enters the atmosphere. Ecological Succession The series of changes (species) that occur in an ecosystem with the passing of time. Both Natural and Human Disturbance can effect the rate and kind of succession. Clearing for Agriculture. Chemical weathering occurs when acid rain or chemicals in plants roots dissolves the minerals in rocks. the action of plants roots. weathering by water and changes in temperature. Sometimes humans can remove minerals from an ecosystem forever. Volcanoes. The high temperatures of Combustion cause nitrogen and oxygen to chemically combine creating Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) which are released into the atmosphere where they mix with other gases to form Acid Rain. The Mineral Cycle Physical means include erosion by water and wind. Floods) Human Disturbance (Deforestation. Droughts. Fires. The Mineral Cycle Most minerals (calcium. Natural (Time. Melting Glaciers.The Nitrogen Cycle Farmers also add fertilizers to their crops. They are released from rocks by physical and chemical means. Fires. soil leaching and mining. The Mineral Cycle Trees absorb most of the minerals.

waste products and dead organisms---when there are no longer large areas of open water the pond becomes a Marsh Marsh Truly aquatic animals die Frogs. Kettle lakes are low in oxygen. Most organisms can not live in a Kettle Lake. Grassland or Forest Pioneer Stage Sandy or Muddy Bottom Species that depend on a “bare bottom” (Algae. Ecological Succession of a Kettle Lake When large masses of ice called Glaciers melt. lack flowing water and become very acidic. The highly acidic water will prevent a large amount of decay. crayfish. It will float like a green mat and eventually the part that sinks will begin to decay. This partly decayed moss is called peat. As years pass. 7 . lung breathing snails. Emerging Plant Stage Larger plants (cattails. The Glaciers contain rocky debris and when they melt this debris acts like a dam creating a Kettle lake. BOG In a pond that does not have good water flow and is acidic a bog will be the climax community Moss will grow with a small amount of oxygen in an acidic environment. fish and small aquatic weeds to grow.marsh or swamp becomes a grassland or forest or bog. protozoa. Kettle Lakes are formed. Submerged Plant Stage Humus allows for larger algae. bulrushes. bacteria. larvae. the pond is filled with plants. soil becomes deposited Climax Community: The final stage in succession…. water lilies) provide stems for organisms that need to come to the top for Oxygen New species of larvae and crustaceans. leeches Marshes becomes drier as the organic matter continues to build up Swamp Small trees invade. salamanders. It may become many feet thick and certain shrubs can grow on it. crustaceans) Death and decay of organisms start to form a layer of “humus” on the bottom. gillbreathing snails.Ecological Succession of A Pond Pioneer Stage Submerged Plant Stage Emerging Plant Stage Marsh Stage Swamp Stage Climax Community: Bog.

The National Forest Mgt Act of 1976 called for mgt plans for all National Forests Clear Cutting Vs Selective Cutting Clear Cutting: removes all timber regardless of size and condition Selective Cutting: removes individual or small groups of trees. Helens erupted. Now only 649-acres remain in a place called Woodburne Forest and Wildlife Sanctuary owned by the Nature Conservatory Penn’s Woods Woods were cleared for farming and logging. Identify pros and cons for environment and logging industry 8 .young trees provide food for animal species Standing dead tress and fallen logs called snags provide cover and shade and nurse young seedlings trees. Old Growth Forests 250 year-old trees Multilevel canopy. 1 Massive tree supports 1. – The fires at Yellowstone Forests America—only 10% of virgin forest ecosystems remain Penn’s Woods There were 29 million acres of virgin forest when William Penn founded PA.500 species of invertebrates Biodiversity determines stability of forest.Ecological Succession of Land Disturbances can include: – Fire – Volcano – Upstream Dam – Deforestation EXTRA CREDIT: Found out about the ecological succession that happened after – Mt. St. Today the State owns and manages 2 million acres.

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